The future happens very slowly and then all at once

tim marshall waveMy title line is from Kevin Kelly whose new book The Inevitable is about the deep trends in the next 20 years that will shape our lives. And a little reflection helps us understand that truth.

The future happens very slowly and then all at once.

First it seems outlandish, strange, unusual and possibly impossible. Then it looms over us and then it is the new normal.

None of us have seen autonomous self-driving commercial vehicles on our roads but …

The world’s first self-driving taxis arrive in Singapore this week. Uber is planning a launch in Pittsburgh soon. How long before they come to your town?

What the impact will be on business, industry, employment, city planning and personal lives? For sure it will be dramatic. It will arrive as a wild wave of change. And so – how do we prepare for that? What should we be thinking about? 

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And so to education: In terms of these dramatic waves of change: What are the implications, challenges and opportunities schools. And how do schools prepare?

Some may say:  Well – we can’t know and therefore – until we do – it should be business-as-usual. I say get your heads out of the sand. As William Gibson said – “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

And what if we get it wrong? The key thing is to imagine and think about the process itself. Change is inevitable and will surprise and shock us. What is the kind of education and the kind of thinking that prepares for that? This is not about the future. It is about the now in which we live.

How must we prepare ourselves, our students and our schools?

Here are a couple of resources as starting points: Future School Thinking and Curriculum Development

Photos by Tim Marshall and Joshua Earle.

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